The Queen’s Throat. Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire
New York: Poseidon Press, 1993. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher’s black cloth over gray marbled paper-covered boards, spine gilt, original illustrated dust jacket.
"The body that sings and the body that calls itself homosexual are not as sealed as we think. Nor are they as free." Inscribed first edition of queer poet and cultural critic Wayne Koestenbaum’s best known book, a love letter to opera and its innate queerness (per Koestenbaum). Koestenbaum playfully investigates sexuality and the human voice, "the gay cult" of Maria Callas ("Worshiping Callas, am I behaving like a vulture?"), defines distinctions between queens, divas, and women ("But a diva is a solitary woman, not a country; all she wants is sovereignty over herself"), provides a cultural history of opera, and details his own passion for the art. Susan Sontag praised the work, which had a seminal influence on nascent gender and sexuality scholarship of the early 1990s, as a "brilliant book." Illustrated with several black-and-white photos and reproductions; with endnotes and an index. Inscribed by Koestenbaum to title page: "For Michael - / yours warmly - / Wayne Koestenbaum / 21 July 2004." First printing with complete number row to copyright page. Light edgewear to boards; unclipped dust jacket with light soiling and edgewear. Very good. Item #6717